tv Charlie Rose PBS January 26, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight, zbigniew brzezinski, the former national security adviser to president carter, talks about the world he sees today and about a new book lled can the strategic vision." >> while i think we're engaged in the right course of trying to somehow our other redress the problem, both by iran, who we have to be very careful not to create a situation in which the iranians feel they're being destroyed by the sanctions and they lash out and start a conflict. >> rose: we conclude this evening with a look at oscar nomination through the prism of three film critic, david denby, a.o. scott, and dana stevens. if you had to vote, david, where would you vote? >> best director i would vote
the global shift of power from west to east. the book is called "strategic vision." i pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. there has been much conversation about what might be taking place between iran and the united states, whether it's threats of the-- to bomb the strait of hormuz, or close it, or an exchange of letters. tell me what you think is going on there. >> i think all of that is going on in fact. there are threats, there are concerns, and there are divisions in the israeli government, within the iranian government, within the u.s. government. that is to say, the visions in our government not of principle but of uncertainty, how tolay it. in effect, things are coming to a head, and i think we have to take a deep breath, and while i think we're engaged in the right course of trying to somehow or other redress the problem posed by iran, we have to be very careful not to create a
situation in which the iranians feel they're being destroyed by the sanctionsnd they lash out and start a conflict. >> rose: you just had the europeanunion say that they will enforce all sanctions. >> that's right. and then the questionis how far does one go with these sanctions? because if in effect, a country is about to be destroyed economically, first of all, it unites the people with the government. the people, generally speaking, don't react against the government until there is a defeat. till them, they feel e other side is at fault so we run the risk in any case of uniting th iranians, the people with the government. >> rose: does sanctions have the power to force them, to compel theto do something and change their behavior on the nuclear issue? >> that depends a great deal on how we pose that issue because if the issue is posed in a way in which they have to, in effect, abjectly, capitulate, i think a great many of them will say now. this is a country of 18 million
people, and they know while we can inflict enormous damage on them, they can hurt us a lot. charlie, we have been now in two 10-yearlong wars. we have wasted enormous amount of financial wealth-- not to speak of lives. our position in the world has deteriorated. can you imagine what the consequences will be for us if the conflict in afghanistan expanded because of the iranians? if iraq was massively destabilized. if bahrainas set on fire. if the northeastern oil fields in saudi arabia were attacked? >> rose: do they have the capacity to ignite all that? >> to ignite, yes? prevail, no. in the meantime, the costs would be cumulative. >> rose: and oil prices uld go through the roof. >> >> yes, and e global economy would be affected. we're playing with fire here. i understand our commitment of dealing resolutelyith this
problem. i'm a little baffled why we're pushing the envelope so hard because after all, we have been willing to live with north korea,whic demonstrly poses a similar problem for south korea and japan, yet, we're not making safe fuss. we have been able to deter the soviet union, which was much more lethal than iran can ever be in the foreseeable future. we deterred the chinese, even though they said the nuclear war would have been 300 million people dead-- so what? now we have to take a deep breath and ask ourselves, look, if worse comes to worst, and even if they do move towards having some capacity in the nuclear weapons are we can still der them. we can certainly destroy them. >> rose: is it your opinion they only want capacity, they don't want necessarily to produce weapons? >> i think it's open, and i suspect they're positioning themselves to be a little bit like japan-- that is to say, have the potential capacity but
not to exercise it. well, in that context, is that worse than a war or is it less lethal than a war? >> rose: can you make an argument for that because some people say the worst outcome is not that they would use the nuclear weapon against israelor anyone else, the possibility that it is a land in which the nuclear weapon, if it was made, could be stolen. >> they have to be handled with t.l.c., tender loving care because you don't know how to use them. you don't know how to adjust them. if you don't revitalize them periodically-- i'm using lay men's language intentionally, they become useless or dangerous to the people playing with them. >> rose: does that include our own stockpile? >> certainly. that's why we do things with them periodically to keep them refreshed and ready and reliable and all that. the notion tt the iranians after spending years and years of capital and effort and making major sacrifices from their standpoint, would give it to
hezbollah is lawable. >> rose: i don't think they would do that because it would rain down on them rather than hezbollah. you can't find hezbollah. >> and they can be traced. nuclear forensics enable us more or less to tell if there was an explosion, what was the point of origin. >> rose: therefore, you dismiss the idea that they're likely to be stolen, number one. and you also seem to accept the idea that a nuclear iran can be contained as a nuclear nor korea has been contained, ages the soviet union was contained. >> yes, i do. >> rose: so, therefore, it's okay with you ifthey achieve nuclear capability. >> no, it's not okay. >> rose: find a better way. >> no, it's not okay because there are negatives. first of all, it creates instability. it heightens a sense of insecurity in israel. it apeciates nuclear proliferation because some of the arab states may want nuclear weapons so it creates an international problem. but it's an international problem which i thk has to be
addressed with a sense of delicacy and responsibility, patience, and determination. and we have the power to deter. we have the power to destroy them if need be, but we don't need to rush head-long into a confrontation, which i feel will not erupt because someone starts it deliberately, not even the rells, but is more likely to erupt because there will be such a level of fear and insecurity on both sides that some incidents or mistakes will precipitate an explosion. >> rose: the argument also goes as long as there is delay and delay and delay, for whatever reason in getting the problem solved, they're closer to the success that they want. >> conceivably, but them you have to ask yourself is containing them preferable to starting a war in which we, the united states, will be the principal pairs of costs? it's not an accident that russia is not anxious to get involved. not for that matter, the
chinese. they have been look at us over the last 20 years, watching us shooting ourselves in the foot, declining as a major power, waging wars which we where not prepared to win or capable of winning or inspect which we set too high a goal, and are we going to compound these floors why? >> rose: so what would do you? >> i would do more or less what we have been doing -- >> sanctions. sanctions on oil? >> no, i wouldn't force it to the point in which the choice for them is capulation or collision. if we'reoing to bring them to their knees, i tnk we're going to precipitate an explosion. >> rose: is there any doubt in your mind ey want a nuclear capability? >> i think they want to have a potential capability. they also want to have status. they live in a part of the world in whi to the left of them, the pakistanis have weapons. to the right of them, the israelis have weapons. and there is an interesting problem, also, with the israelis
-- the pakistanis and israelis. there's an interesting problem with israeli nuclear weapons. the israelis have them, presumably, to defend themselveses, right, incling against the iranians, right? >> rose: right. >> now, it seems that the israelis feel their nuclear deterrent doesn't deterrent iranians, right? maybe they should offer to give it up if the iranians give theirs up. if it's useless,hy have it? i'm proposing this essentially as an argument because i know it won't be taken seriously, but the point is that we're dealing here with a volatile problem which volves a series of cotryes, butf there is an eruption, we will be the ones who will be making the sacrifices and pay all the costs and suffer the consequences. >> rose: is it likely the israelis would strike, in your judgment, even-- if it was not imminent-- >> it's a long way off. >> rose: a long way off. and if they made that decision, would they inform the united states? what would they do? >> my guess is if they were
going to strike, they would strike on their own without giving us much of an advance warning, maybe just as the operation begins. and its primary strategic objective would not be the achievement of the destruction of iranian nuclear capabilities because they know they can't do that effectively, but the objective uld be to ecipitate an iranian reaction against us because our explicit would be apparent to the iranians in the sense we didn't do anything to prevent it from happening and that we, in fact, armed the israelis so that they uld do it. so their reaction would be directed against us. we would be the obvious taet, and this is where the strait of hormuz and bahrain and iraq and afghanistan and the price of oil and the conditions of the global economy comes into play. >> rose: the campaign is going on back to the israes and the
palestinians. you see the effort on the part of the palestinians talk to hamas. do you think there's any possibility somehow they may speak with one voice and, therefore, be able to negotiate with the israelis? >> i have been dealing with this problem for 30 years. and i have a very simple conclusion, based on my experience. and it's not a condemnation of one or the other. the fact of the matter is, in my judgment, that left to their own resources, the israelis and the palestinians will never reach a fair settlement, one that they can both live with. the publics on both sides are predisposed to some sort of a fair settlement, but there are these obstacles and these differences of what is fair. >> rose: faction within faction in each state. >> right. the bottom line is the palestinians are too weak to make serious compromises as the beginning of the negotiating process. the israelis are too strong, and also too interested in having more land to make the initial compromises. it takes a third party to promote a settlement. there's only one party that can
do that. that's the united states. >> rose: which brings me to my next question before we turn to the book. how do you assess the stewardship of foreign policy of president obama? >> if i would assess it abstractly i would raise some objections. if i could raiset in comparison to the alternatives i see a hea every week, i think he's doing much better than any of the alternatives. >> rose: fair enough, i hear that. let's treat it in ice alation as to what might have been. >> i think what might have been is after the speeches in istanbul, in cairo, after his commitment to getting the peace, he might have chosen to go even on historic and heroic visit to jerusalem, made one more speech, and then really put the pressure on both the palestinians and the israelis to compromise. i think he positioned himself as moving towards peace. he even said the construction of the settlements ought to be
stopped when netanyahu defied him, he got away with it. when the u.s. congress began to pile on obama-- not to mention all of the other problems that he was facing-- the financial, the economic, and all of that -- >> right right, right. >> he decided to postpone it, which means he lost momentum because he had most momentum the first year. and he lost some credible. it's still regainable for the sake of e people involved. in all of this discussion, there's a tendency to look at it from both sides, t palestinian and really, from the short-range perspective. what do we get? what do we extra from the other? how do we position ourselves? what both sides forget is there is no peace, if there is no peace, it means a horrible fate for the palestinians in the near future, and an extremely dangerous fate for israeli in the longer run. as american power recedes from the middle east, because what we have to observe is the fact that we were paramount in the middle east after world war ii, and we
stayed paramount until recently. at one point, we had good relations with the key players in the middle east-- iran, turkey, saudi arabia, egypt. now we don't have particularly good relations with iran, which we have just talked about. the saudis are kind of uneasy about us, particularly because of mubarak and egypt. >> rose: they seem to have come back-- >> they have come back with a sense of hesitation. they don'trust us any more. and the egyptians are in a vy unpredictable phase. the whole power in the middle east is changing and none of it is changing to our advantage. >> rose: and who becomeshe key player? >> whoever dominates, and that could be very messy. or whoever solicits new friends. that could, over time, even be china. in the shorter run, pakistanis or indians providing, for example, troops for hire to some
of the countries. >> rose: the president has been on record as saying when asked to sort of--he prerbial question what are you worried about? what causes you to lose sleep at night, he says pakistan. >> that's very worrisome. that, of course, is an extension of the afgh problem and it's a problem which is going to confront that region even after we are gone, and my point-- and i make that in the book-- is it it's not in our interest to be the sole western power deeply involved up to our neck in that region of the world. >> rose: the president's trying to shift that focus. >> exactly. >> rose: as you know. >> and i hope we get out. >> rose: "get out" meaning what? clearly-- >> out of afghanistan. >> rose: do you doubt we will get out of afghanistan? do you doubt the president kept his commitment out of iraq? >> this was a very shorthanded statement. i hope we get out in a manner that is acceptable-- that is to say, that something stays after we leave but that can carry on, on its own, but with external support from us because when the soviets were driven out, we all turned our books afghanistan,
and then taliban filled the void. that mistake must not be repeated. >> rose:ou were in favor of-- you were against the iraq war but you were in favor of a retaliation againstfghanistan because al qaeda originated there. >> that's ght. but both in public, in terms of op-eds, and i think it was the "new york times" or the "wall street journal," and also in the personal communication with rumsfeld, i said, "look, let's go in, clean up al qaeda if we can, knock out taliban, and leave." give them economic assist expanse so forth b not get engaged in any sort of longer war to create democracy in afghanistan. >> rose: are you suggestg rumsfeld may have consulted y with respect to iran and sai- >> no, not iran, afghanistan. >> rose: oh, afghanistan. >> well, yes, there were a number of us. i wasn't the only one. former nional security advisers were called in and we had some discussions, and i have no illusion we had much influence but we o. to effect policy you have to be there day in and day out.
you have to participate in debates. you have to review the options. you have to discuss with the president and his advers their views. it's a totally different process than being called in fair meeting or for lunch or something like that. >> rose: i'm going to take a tangent here for one second. every president complains about the bubble. does every president have all the information that they should have in making crucial decisions? >> you know, i think on the basis of my fairly extensive experience, i think basically the information they have, i'm not sure they're sficiently open to a really sustained discussion of alternative perspectives. that's sometimes-- because, you know, being called in once in a while, okay. but unless there is some sort of a dialogue in which the presidents really go out of the immediate circle, which after a while, defines itself and whose individual positions are well
known in advance. soither they're listened to or they're discounted. i think that is very difficult for a president to do. because for one thing, if you're called in by the president and you're not experienced, you tend to be deferential. you don't disagree with him directly. so the president has to be willing to snd some time listening tohings he doesn't like to hear, or with which he a priori doesn't agree. >> rose: and that depends on your own confidence in yourself. >> that's right. >> rose: whether it's a president or a vice president or secretary of state. >> that's right. >> rose: iant t come to the issue of where theorld is today, strategic vision. what caused you to write this? >> what caused m to -- >> there are other books about this subject. >> yeah, but what caused me to write this is the feeling that, one, we missed an enormous opportunity after 1990 when for a brief period of time the united states washe only superpower in the world. >> rose: i remind you, you wrote a book about that. >> i did, and i thought we had the chance to play it. we didn't play it well. we instead frittered away
student opportunities. that's one of the reasons. q. one of the great missedoppor. >> there was never a time in history when one power was so dominant. we wasted it. secondly, i did it because i do think by and large we as a country don't recognize the extent to which the nature of global per is now changing. i have been working and thinking about this phemenal global political awakening for a number of years, and that is transforming the nature of politics politics in our age. >> rose: tell us what you mean, arab spring and what else? >> it means very simply for the first time in all of human history, almost all of humanity is politically conscious, politically weak, politically striving, politically restless, politically frustrated. that's new. we have been dealing throughout history until the french revolution with essentially populations who are not interested or involved in the political process. in the last 200 years, the
spread, the two world wars were accelerators and something else very much so-- maybe even more so. radio, television, internet. and today,e're interwoven, interactive, striving, resentful, and now we'ren a world where there is a growing narrative widespread that blames the west for many of the -- >> but wait a minute-- >> unhappiness. >> rose: i don't think that's true. >> why not? >> rose: arab spring wasn't blaming the west. it was a global awakening b-- >> global awakening -- >> it was about the demand for participation. it was not anti-west-- >> you're talking about purpose. i'm talking about historical narrative. purpose, yes. purpose was local, was focused d on local grievances, resentmentes, corruption, inequality, unemployment -- >> and you don't think it's changed since the obama administration came in, in which the president spoke to the aspirations of people and went to cairo, as you said.
>> yeah, it started changing, it started changing. but then there's been sort of a sense of some letdown and feeling maybe elements of continuity in america are more important than the new sense of innovation. >> rose: but take this. some people's fears about iraq are beginning to look like they're going to happen, that there will be some kind of huge sectarian strife there. under and more it looks like like, does it not? >> at the same time it's people will be striving against each other, you're right, competition for power. they'll athe same time be blaming the united states for creating the circumstances -- >> by overthrowing saddam hussein? >> yes, in which one side can blow up the other, a shiite procession can be attacked. their sense is america came in and destroyed us, and now these volatile forces are at work, and this is part of the legacy that was bequeathed to us in e name
of democracy. let's have no illusion about that. >> rose: let's take russia, for example. is there, you know, a resentment against the united states there because we took advantage of their loss of power and rather than bringing them in, which is the great-- >> that's more differentiated, and that's one of the items i address in the book quite extensively, because i think there's a real chance of sucking russia into the west. i think there is a difference between the residual leadership of people like putin who are filled with nostalgia for imperial status, for great power, equality with america. and the emergence for the first time, civic society composed of younger, middle-class people, who increasingly travel abroad, in many, many cases study abroad; and they're in touch with the world through the internet; and who are increasingly becoming part, in
terms of political culture, of that which might be generally called the west. and this is one of the reasons why one of the strategic prongs of my analysis is that our goal ought to be to encourage this process,f drawing russia into the west. do the same with turkey,hich is becoming increangly more important and which is a good example for -- >> we're in favor of turkey being more part of the west. >> we are. we have to take more of a lead, and of course we can't take the lead because there is something else at play-- namely, our ability to influence others is being undermined by our domestic difficulties and gridlock. so these issues are interwoven, and this is why our response is really interdependent on having a strategic vision regarding the world, but also having determination to address our domestic problems. >> rose: i assume if the president was here sitting at this table he would say, "i hear what you're saying, but don't think we don't have a strategic vision. i have announced a new attitude
with respect to china." >> yes, he did. >> rose: "and the pacific countries." >> that's good. >> rose: that's a strategic vision. >> i have some quibbles but the quibbles may not be all that important. i wish he hadn't announced it as part of a military refocus, and announced -- >> the speech was to play to the pentagon. >> the australians are not about to be invaded by papua new guinea. unfortunately, the chinese view it, because of the way it was presented, not as a sign of constructive american engagement in asia, but maybe as a preview of an american policy designed to encircle asia and china, to contain china. i don't think that is the intention. i don't think obama has that in mind. but how you pitch something has a lot of-- to do with how it's interpreted by others. >> rose: what's your assessment of him as a strategic thinker? >> i was quite convinced that he had a very accurate sense of the
essence of our historical e and how america has to adjust to that. >> rose: why were you convinced? >> because i talked to him, and i got a sense of his thinking -- >> advised him? >> no, i didn't advise him. >> rose: he consulted with you. >> as i told you elier, i think adviser-- we talked, and i really feel that he understands the world much better than many other politiciansn america. we unfortunately have been stuck in a vice created by the economic crisis, and it's impact on us and on our friends, and that has reduced his room of maneuver and has also made it easier for people to mobilize against him and to urge-- sometimes even in extreme language-- to oppose him at all costs, or even as some publisher the other day in atlanta wrote-- you probably read about it-- even that he be killed. i mean, this is the kind of
climate that has unfortunately really unrmined the serious national dialogue of the world. >> rose: and as given momentum to paralysis. >> yes, precisely, gridlock, gridlock. and this is why we are now at the historical stage i which we will know within probably five to 10 years whether we are still going to be a leading player in the world or whether we're gng to be incrsingly marginalized. >> rose: stow let's assume everything that you say is right about where we stand with the rest of the world. >> that's a pretty good assumption. >> rose: why am i surprised you would say that? let's assume are you right. so let's assume that the president says, okay, our relevance, perhaps, is not as strong as it was. the admiration of the rest of the world for us is not as strong as it was. we made some mistakes. we look at a part of the world
that we have been a primary player and they're now in pursuit of a different relationship with each other, and they're agents of change we have no control over islamism, being onexample of it. so what do we did to make sure that we build on what foundaon we have? >> well, obviously, this could take hours to explain, but let me make -- >> you try to explain it in this book, by the way. >> which is 200 pages of reading which would take hours unless you're a very fast reader. one, we really have to try to help reconsolidate and revitalize the west. because, alone, we are really no longer so dominant. >> rose: what do you mean by "revitalize the west?" >> that means engaging with it first, in dealing with the problems- >> as a partner. >> as a partner. and second enlarging it-- drawing in russia, drawing in turkey. because if they become part of the west, they are, in effect, a coming -- >> would you draw russia into nato? >> if they are ready, if they
are a real democracy, then at some point, yes. but russiaannot be part of the west unless it is really democratic because that's the essence of the west. so we need a stronger west which in a way is the spearhead for more decent, respectful human rights and decent governments around the world. and secondly, we have to engage in a serious effort to structure a stable relationship with china-- not making our policy in asia totally dependent on it, but avoiding any military engagements on the mainland becausthat will be terribly destructive to us. and try to promote, to the extent that we can, graally reconciliation between japan and china and try to mitigate -- >> vietnam and china? >> trying to mitt mitigate the growing hostily between india and china. >> rose: is it growing? >> yes, yes. >> rose: what is your evidence that it's growing? >> there is mutual fear, accusations that the chinese are penetrating the indian ocean, the chinese are fearful that the
indians are trying to -- >> what do you tnk their ambition is, china? >> i think the chinese are historical very patient. very different from us. >> rose: for obvus reasons. >> and, therefore, i don't think they're seeking to become at this stage a hedge mon, but they're trying to equal us, to match us, and then they expect at some point if they maintain that momentum to surpass us. but in the meantime, they recognize something very new in the relationship between big powers which makes it different, let's say from the compitition between imperial germany and great britain, can namely, their interests are now intertwined with our interests more and more and our interests are intertwined with theirs. and this is why i think the president was right when he said let's be really engaged in china, but not as a hostile intervener, and not by demonizing the chinese, nor by engaging as it is done-- not by
the president but by many in this country-- as by a quasi-wishful thinki. >> rose: there are a core who will argue for us continuing to play an important role-- >> absolutely. >> rose: having to do with demographics, having to do with someducation and other policies. >> yes, but we have to be alert the fact that demographics, in the setting of unemployment and increasing disparity in wages will not solve the problem. so there are other problems we have to deal with. >> rose: you mention income inequality and should the president and country wake up to the fact that there is something destructive at our core in the terms of the number of people who are poor in this couny, in terms of the essential fairness of our system? >> i think so. there is a great essay about america. he talked about common interests properly understood, and he said then that the americans had a unique genius for understanding that once should enrich ones self as much as possible but with the understanding if y
begin to harm others, if the disparities become too great, that common interest disappears. look, in 1970, the income of top executives in america was 25 times higher than the average income in the country. now it's 325 times higher. it's become absurd. and that, in a setting of a greater sort of sense of vulnerability in the mile class, is potentially dangerous to our democracy, and even to our capitalism. we have to baware o that. that'sot an argument against capitalism. it's not an argument for socialism, but it's an argument for common sense that there is something which involves the notion of fairness that makes capitalism acceptable. you should make more money than i, but not to the degree that this becomes almost immoral, unfair, and even economically dangerous. >> rose: we're taping this before the president's state of the union.
and it will be viewed after the state of the union because of somes you made. so, therefore, i assume the president will speak to this in the state of the union, don't you? >> i would hope so. i would hope so. i would hope he does it in a way that disappoint enable the extreme critics on the opposite side of the fence to immediately start yelling, "socialism, socialism, marxism." unfortunately that has taken hold to some extent and that has become part of the vocabulary in the political debate and that's what's so destructive. >> rose: you're talking about they believe, those contribution, believe that the president-- the terms they use. they believe he believes more in the power of the state as the the principal agent of economic change. >> well, the state has a role to play. i mean, you know, social security is a good examp of the state playing a role -- >> national security, too. >> exactly. >> rose: inerms of a safety net has been a principlef americsince f.d.r., right? >> right. >> rose: we covered in terms of where the united states is
and the crisis of global power. your essence-- and this is the interesting thing to me, you know, the chinese now are trying to build up their economy as much as they can, and engage in contracts around the world to provide them with ahe resources they think they need. the big question, it seems to me, is in 2025 and thereafter, once they havebeen able to do that to their own satisfaction, will they become a country that wants to play the vital role around the world because some argue that's never been part of a chinese mindset? >> well, it's never been part of the chinese mindset because the chinese have always viewed themselves as the inner kingdom with a tributary system. much depends on what happens during those 15, 20 years. if we can strike a balance in our relations with the chinese, if we can emphasize the common interest properly understood in having a stable relationship, if we can promote concillation
between those countries and asia, that they view us rivals or enemies, particularly japan and china, i think we may be able to pioneer in a new relationship which doesn't result in a huge new struggle for global hedge money. there's a fact that nuclear weapones, of course, have made war less tractive to big states. so that may become a factor. by 2025, the chances are the chinese might be able to spend as much on defense as we. and we'll have to coexist, as we did with the soviets. look, we went through a very difficult, occasionally dangerous-- and i have personal recollections of tt moment of danger-- relationship with the soviet union, the cold war, and with each of us capable of destroying the other in a few hours. and we didn't. >> rose: what was the worst mont for you? >> well, there was once a false alarm that we were about to start something. >> rose: okay. here's what i hear from you-- it's time for the united states to understand the new reality in the world and for the united states to be engaged and to be
collaborative and to be recognizing that it needs to do things that are confidence building as part of its own strategic effort. >> intertwining, also. >> rose: okay. the book is called "strategic vision: america and the crisis of global power." a whole range of interesting ideas that have to do with what the debate is about the future. thank you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: the nominations for the 84th academy awards were announced on tuesday in los angeles just two years after expanding the best picture nominees from five to 10, this year the academy added what it called a new twist to that category-- new votin rules now allow anywhererom five to 10 best picture nominees. this time there were nine movies made. thleader is hugh with 11 nomination. "the artist" close behind by 10. and the story of an orphan
buying boyliving in a french railway station. can thear oks at the dawn of talking pictures, the first nontalkie in 83 years to be nominated for anscar. they reflect a kind of nostalgia that was one of this year's dominating themes. others include "war horse" woody allen's "midnight in paris." and "the help." surprises included extremely loud and increbly close. in absence of fastbender and dicaprio in the best actor category. joining me is david denby, of "new yorker," a.o. scott of "new york times," and dana stevens of "slate." is this a good movie year? >> i think it's a good movie year. it's sometimes i think hard for people in our profession to get much of a perspective on it because we see hundreds of
movies in a year and i feel like there were a lot that i liked. it was a good year. there was a diverse real estate of very ambitious and interesting movi that came out. it was not a year that, when a few of them stood out for me as kind of really, really great. >> rose: no great, brilliant film that would sort of blow away anybody. >>t least not yet. sometimes a few years go by and you back to something. i have a feeling for me "tree of life" will be that movie that two or three or five years from now i go back and say that was really something speal. that's closest one. >> i had the same feeling about "tree of life." it's certainly a difficult movie, and maybe we should talking about it. but i like the variety of these nine movies. they're all very different from one another. and "the help" benefitted from being a fresh subject. what african american maids think of the women they have brought up who then in turn become their bosses. that's a great subject for a movie. "war horse" felt to me like the best movie of 1958 or '59-- big
family, placid spectacle that worked better on stage. >> rose: i like the horse. >> the horse was magnificent. i don't know how many horses they used. they always use more than one animal, don't they. >> rose: exactly. >> the variety of it, the "the artist," as you mentioned, is very impressive. there's nothing that blew me away as much as "the social network" last year that seems to be of this time, thisoment in a way that seemed extraordinary. but "tree of life" is a work of art we will look at. >> i don't think there was a movie or main movies that captured the popular imagination this year the way you could say "the social network" did last year, or the pas years wre there are two big contenders and i don't know if there are going to be hering sports-style in the oscars this year because it is all over the map. >> re: is it good we have nine nominees rather than five? >> oh, i think eight would be good-- no, i don't know what the ideal number is.
i think the idea is that, you know, that it will be a diverse range of movies, large ones and small ones. and i think what a lot of this fiddling with the category is about is trying desperately to hold on to the audience for the broadcast, for the it four hours of, you know, excruciating pomp and music and silliness that happens in february. how are we going to get the young people to watch? how are we going to get women to watch? we'll nominate as many things as we can -- >> how are we going t settle on a host. >> right, well-- the kids love that billy crystal, though. >> rose: they do. let me d this this way. people always ask me how are you anything to handle the oscars. what i want to do is for the people at home who may not have seen movies. you guys watch movies, you understand movies. share some of the films that have been nominated. sawhat you want. we don't have predict a winner but say what's here that may be interesting and i'll take one that has knotten a l of attention which is "moneyball,"
beyond the "the artist" and what we said about "war horse" and "hugo." did you like it? >> yes, i'm a baseball nut, and i wonder how people outside of this particular mindset-- saber metrics at the center a large movie? i thought it was infectious, though. brad pitt was totally alive. >> rose: a very good performance. >> yes, and i have put him down on this program in the past for having been dead eyed and something has happened to him. shame on me. he was fantastic in "tree of li" also. so, yes, that movie had a lot of energy to it, and i think maybe it brought people into an understanding of baseball that they didn't have before. i mean, i know women who had no interest in baseball who went to that. >> rose: it may or may not be you, dana. did you like "moneyball"? >> i was going to speak to the point i had never heard of saber metrics until i walked into the theater. i don't think it's a movie about baseball. it's actually awe movie about work in some ways, right, the working relationship-- >> the workplace. >> the working relationship between brad pitt and jonah hill
and the hiring and firing of the players and what it's like to learn to be a manager and all of those things are fascinating whether you care about baseball at all. it's a process movie. >> that's exactly right. and i always love movies that i feel like explain to me something, take me into a part of the world that i was not familiar or maybe i didn't even know existed, what these guys do in the-- in their offices down in the stadiums and how they try to manipulate reality, to control what in a way -- >> gives you insight into how managers and scouts put together a baseball team and new ideas how to approach that. >> and about the pension between kind of going on your hunch and trying to figure on the-- out some sort of scientific or mathematical or rational system that's going to work. >> actually, i don't think saber metrics is really the answer to anything. billy bean still hasn't won a championship, and a lot of people are doing this now. and the elderly scouts in that movie i thought were treated rather badly. i mean, they were made to look
like they were just stupid and out of it. that was a little bit unfair. >> rose: did you all like "midnight in paris." >> i can't say swooned for it, no. i thoughtmidnight in paris" was fin i think grading on the curve that we're now apparently grading woody allen on, i think it was one of his better movies. >> rose: we grade him on a curve, do we? >> i feel like in the last 10 years i think we do. i think "midnight in paris" is getting overrecognized at the oscars. >> rose: what film would you recommend that is not here that you always come to the table with something you loved that they didn't? >> there's one movie that got one tiny little nomination that i don'think it has any chance of winning which is nick nolte in the best supporting actor category in a movie called "warrior" that came out at the ends of the summer and really i think fell between the expansion it was marketed as an action movie about mixed martial arts, a fighting movie that the posters in the subwa just had
thtwo stars -- >> he plays the farther, doesn't he? >> he plays the father of two sons, and they're fighters and it's a very sentimental, corny, not terribly plausible story directed by gavin o'connor with amazing heart and conviction a it is-- it is the movie that had me in tears at the end. and a movie that uses some of the vocabulary of the action genre to get at some really tough, emotional-- and i would say, also, social stuff. one of the guys is an iraq war veteran. the other brother is a school teacher who is underwater with his mortgage, and this movie without making a big deal about it, without saying this is a topical movie about what's going on in america today, turned out to be a very serious and tough look at what has been going on in america, especially in working class america in the last 10 years. and it's the kind of movie that i'm so happy when something like this comes along that's a
mainstream entertainment that's also doing something really interesting and serious and it breaks my heart when audiences don't find it. and i hope that they will. >> rose: i agree with you totally. >> i think "margin call." you and i are old enough to remember "playhouse 90." and it was like one of those great -- >> i don't remember radio. >> okay. you got me. it was like one of those chamber drama-- although there was a sense of the city outside the walls from 1958. but the best one you could possibly imagine, and all of us i think who revwed it have lked about david mammoth as booing a possible influence on j.c. commander, who is unknown to most of us. it's a fabulous ensemble cast. >> rose: it is a great cast. i couldn't grow more. >> talk about the workplace. to have seven or eight people-- and for you to be aware of what each one thinks of all the others, in the hierarchy. that is very difficult to do. and, of course, the sense of what happens when you realize
that these ridiculous investmentes, which it turns out were going to sink the economy -- >> lehman brothers. >> the day the do-do hit the fan at lehman brothers is basically what it's about and you realize the stuff is declining in value and you have to get rid of it, i think that is the movie that will be the one we go back to look at. >> rose: anything you want to bring out? >> i wanted to say did b"margin call"recognition for best origil screenplay. it's really the writing that brings it together. >> rose: let me move on. best actress. before i do that, i'll just tell you who the best picture nomies are. war horse, theistry of life, "moneyball," midnight in paris. "hugo," "theelp." >> best actresshat performance stands out. of the nominees for best
actress. >> of thos nomineees, i think meryl streep is formidable and really quite remarkable as-- in a very flawed movie about margaret thatcher. i thought viola davis brought extraordinary poise and digni and depth and emotion to "the help." i liked, also, gle close in "albert nobbs." it's in some ways a stunt performance. she's playing a woman who disguised herself as a man. but i think it's-- that's a triumph of technique. i like those three. i look rooney mara, too. >> rose: you liked everybody, didn't you? >> i like them all. >> rose: pick out one for god's sake. don't tell us you like them all. >> streep gave us insights into what it's like to be a powerful person losing it, into senescence. >> rose: losing power and your-- >> and talking to phantoms and the way her eyes seem to look
around corners. she still had a kind of paranoia of power going, even sitting in her bedroom. so i found that electrifying. the rest of the movie is pretty much terrible. viola davis seems to bring a presence, a gravitas eye don't know what the right word is-- to whatever she does. >> rose: including sitng at this table. >> i bet. she's formidable. her eyes seem to see more than other people's eyes do. there's something about the way she sets that focus that is remarkable. those are my favorites. >> i would say it's a contest in real life for me between viola davis and meryl streep. michelle williams is a qualify actress but that movie is so slight. >> she doesn't have the body to play marilyn. i thought she had marilyn's spirit. >> rose: best actor. enough of that body talk.
demian bichir, george clooney, jean dujardin gary oldman, and brad pitt, moneyball. george clooney gets it, i think almost everybody believes. >> i think so, and i think he deserves it. it's a very good performance. a little bit against type but enough of that -- >> people like that. >> enough of that clooney charm. they like the fact, i think a lot of middle aged men who might not be quite as good looking and arming as george clooney like the fact that he's playing a little bit of a -- >> you thought best actor? >> i mean, if i got to vote, i would probably vote for oldman. i really, really loved oldman.
>> rose: this is for "tinkor tailor soldier spy." and there was an enormously brilliant performance in "tinkor tailor soldier spy" by alex guinness who played george smiley in an extraordinary way. you didn't think about that. you weren't saying oh, my god, alec guinness was better. you just let him inhabit the role. >> he said he went back to the book and steered far clear of alec guinness because it was too scary. >> the 1979 series was fantastic. i know couples who watch it every year, families gathering to watch "gone with the wind." >> rose: i watch i last summer. >> anyway, i think clooney is obviously terrific. >> rose: let's move to best director. "the artist", michael hazanavicius, alexander payne, martin scorsesewoody allen, and terrencemalick. >> terrence malick's movie is one of a kind. >> he's not going to win it, is
he? >> he's not going to win it. we have all had the feeling why am i at this place at this time? why am i sitting at charlie rose's table and maybe all of life goes into it and ou of is it-- >> let's go back to the big bang. >> rose: somebody i would most like to have at this table. >> i don't see him going to the oscar cereny. >> i don't think so, either. if you can think about a metaphysical movie, why am i here and where do i fit into all of creation and maybe all of life is encapsulated in one faly, in one front yard in one town in texas in 1956 whenever it is, that movie did it. >> rose: and another good performance by brad pitt. >> fantastic performance by brad pitt as a failure who takes out his rage against his children. >> rose: if you had to vote, david, where would you vote? >> i would vote-- well, among these i would vote for george. >> rose: no, no, no.
>> best director i would vote for malick. i vote for george in every category. i would vote for malick. > rose: you vote for? >> probably malick, too. >> rose: is easy for you. >> i'd vote for malick, also. >> rose: we're obviously racing through this, boys and girls. best supporting actress. berenice bejo, the artist. jessica chastain melissa mccarthy, janet mcteer, and octavia spencer. >> melissa mccarthy had a breakthrough. she was really funny and almost alarmingly physical to the point where you're a little scared if you get close to her. and that was funny, exciting. that was-- i don't know if that means an oscar. >> the whole plate you read is so full of vibrant performances that are so different. that's an exciting category when i hear it read like that because i like to see comedy get
recognized at the oscars. it's so often the somber movies that get the attention so i'm happy to see melissa mccarthy. octavia spencer is great, too. >> i loved janet mcteer's performance in "albert nobbs" where she and glenn close show entirely different ways that a woman could pretend to be a man. >> i wonder how you create merrill close right now, a super actor. it's a mutant, merrill close. >> rose: we conclude with best supporting actor. kenneth branagh, jonah hill i loved in "moneyball," loved. christopher pmmer, in "beginners." i just love chstopher plummer, period. nick nolte, and. among these -- >> you would have replaced some of these. >> i would have --
>> >> i like jonah hill very much in almost anything but i don't know if that's going to win the oscar. what's your prognostication? >> i think probably christopher plummer. they like the old guys. >> yeah, i think it will be plummer and maybe should be plummer. but again because of the comedy angle it was fun to see jonah hill get the recognition. >> rose: thank you all.